By Yael Hashiloni-Dolev
This publication provides the findings of a research into the social shaping of reproductive genetics in Germany and Israel. The research finds dramatic alterations among German and Israeli societies in addressing the query of a existence (un)worthy of dwelling. a detailed research of the ways in which those societies deal with the stability among the standard and sanctity of existence illuminates controversies over reproductive genetics in an unique and provocative approach.
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Extra resources for A Life (Un)Worthy of Living: Reproductive Genetics in Israel and Germany (International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine)
Due to the large size of the country and because of budget limitations, interviews in Germany were mostly conducted in the province of North Rhein-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfahlen). Using the list of the German professional board of geneticists (Berufsverband Medizinische Genetik, BV), I contacted all counselors who were working within two hours driving distance from the city of Cologne, where I was staying. This included other towns like Essen, Düsseldorf, Düren, Aachen, Bonn and, of course Cologne itself.
In Germany,1 Irmgard Nippert and Gerhard Wolff distributed the questionnaires to professional geneticists, based on the membership lists of the German Society of Human Genetics (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Humangenetik, also known as the Scientific Organization of Geneticists), the Professional Board of Geneticists (Berufsverband Medizinisce Genetik) and listings from all the genetics clinics and academic departments in the country. A German translation of the questionnaire was used. In Israel, questionnaires were distributed by Zully Kohan, though only to MD geneticists (and not also to non-MD genetic counselors).
My leading question will be: what is it about the field’s history, contemporary political and financial organization and cultural surroundings that can shed light on the dramatic differences found between Israel and Germany in their adoption of genetic reproductive practices. As in the rest of this book, in this chapter, I will also not employ a sharp distinction between the fundamental concepts and ideas of medical genetics and its institutions. Socio-historical and cultural factors take on a life of their own, become institutionalized and form the world of prenatal medical genetics in which moral reasoning, budgeting and institutional arrangements work together and mutually affect one another in various ways.